By Emily Farthing
What Is Interfaith? This was one of the questions being asked of myself and the other young adult panelists, at this year’s North American Interfaith Network’s conference in Detroit. I’ve had the opportunity to attend this conference the past two years as a representative of The Interfaith Prayer Service International. As I rolled this question around in my head and heart and listened to other young adults share, I realized my experience of Interfaith was “soupy”.
The Soup/ Salad metaphor is often used when describing interfaith engagement. “Soup”, referring to the melting pot of different cultures and traditions, sharing with one another and meshing traditions and beliefs. The “salad” being the respect for each traditions uniqueness and the coming together of different yet equal parts. When I discovered the Interfaith Prayer Service, one could argue I was either at the lowest of lows or the highest of highs in my life. Newly sober I was spiritually seeking trying desperately to fill the hole that was once momentarily satisfied with vodka. I met Siri Kaur Khalsa at an Interfaith event at Temple Beth Israel and immediately started attending these services.
The immersion in a variety of different faiths for an hour of prayer and meditation, soothed my soul and opened my heart and head. Each month my spirit is challenged with new songs, sounds and texts. I never knew diversity in Eugene to be so rich as when I discovered IPSI. My experience in Interfaith has been a pluralistic adventure of building a closer connection to God and the community.
What is Interfaith? Coming to a common ground with diverse individuals and/or groups. It is sharing experience, strength and hope that we may better work together. It is learning, loving and being challenged to open your head and your heart a little more…
Interfaith is what you experience at each Interfaith Service. Soup, salad or whatever you make of your unique experience. I am so grateful to live in a community that offers that opportunity to share and enjoy together.